Monday, February 4, 2008

A Walking Diary - Cycling Through The Super Bowl

As part of my training for the upcoming Tour of California, I decided to get the fingers warmed up with a Running Diary of the Super Bowl from a cyclist's perspective. Then I realized that the game is like 5 hours long and reduced my efforts to the 2nd Quarter and halftime show. At least I know my limits and broke it down to a walk. Here we go:

Okay, it’s the beginning of the second quarter and the Patriots have just taken a 7-3 lead over the Giants in the Super Bowl. C-Mac is on the treadmill, Cosmo is asleep on the couch next to me and the belly is full of some excellent sporting event foods. Now I’m ready for some good old American sporting violence and big budget commercialism.

I will try to add as much cycling stuff to this as I can since I would rather be watching Slipstream dominate the Tour of the Bahamas right now. But since it’s easier to find high school football on TV than cycling, I guess the biggest sporting event in the country will have to do instead.

As we begin our coverage of the 2nd Quarter, it should be noted that one of the most entertaining things about the Super Bowl is the random celebrity element. There are usually a few legitimate stars in the crowd but there is also the inevitable array of has-beens and weirdos who think they are part of the show.

A quick crowd shot by the Fox camera crew reveals the presence of Pam Anderson (not sure who she was with, but she looks annoyed and possibly drunk), Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy (a potentially uber-annoying couple who seem to be oddly mellow and normal) and good old Giselle Bundschen, the girlfriend of Pats Quaterback Tom Brady, who may or may not have realized that American Football is different than that of her native Brazil. I think it is written in every Brazilian model’s contract that she must date a football (soccer) player and GB just found a loophole.

I guess I should actually begin by saying that I am not a huge football fan anymore but I watch Sports Center religiously so I generally know more about the sport than my interest level would indicate. The reason I include “anymore” in the previous sentence is because I was born and raised a die-hard San Francisco Forty-Niner fan and since I have moved to Colorado - and since the Niners have continually sucked for the last decade - it has been harder to follow them with as much passion as I had during their 80’s-90’s Super Bowl runs.

And now what is this commerical? Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man? I never got really excited about Comic Book Heroes as a kid but I have an affinity for Iron Man because of Ghostface Killah from Wu Tang Clan. One of his alias’ is Tony Starks, the real name of the dying scientist in the iron suit. Anyway, the movie looks okay and Downey is usually pretty good but it takes a lot to get me to shell out $10 for a movie these days. But if Ghostface is in it, I’ll go for sure.

It should now be pointed out that the coaches for both teams are wearing the cheesiest white Reeboks I have ever seen. I say that with love because at one time (like, 5th grade) I had some Reeboks that were almost the same style. But again, that was 1986. They look especially lame for the guys rocking the tan slacks. Hey Coach Belichick, where are the headband and fuzzy leg warmers?

Remember the Plymouth-Reebok cycling team back in the day? From back when aerobics classes were booming and shiny white Reeboks were radically awesome? And both McCormack brothers were killing everyone in their British flag-splashed jerseys? I remember.

Anyway, now the Giants are punting. Being a punter must be a great job. It’s got to be kind of tough to get heckled by all the other players and generally get disrespected but I think I could live with it considering the median salary for an NFL punter in 2007 was right around $1 million dollars. How did I not recognize this career path long ago? Oh well.

Or think about it this way: The average NFL punter makes more money than some of the budgets of entire domestic cycling teams. Ouch.

Speaking of domestic cycling teams, Toyota just ran a funny Corolla ad with a sleeping Mama Badger. I have never seen a badger in real life, but I don’t think I would want to mess with one. Do they even have badgers in Colorado?

Anyway, Ahmad Bradshaw just fumbled for the Giants but recovered the ball. That’s an interception, sack and fumble on consecutive plays for the G-Men if you’re scoring at home. Or if you’re alone.

Bradshaw did well to get the ball back though. Maybe his HUGE bicep tattoos made the difference. He has a huge “A” on one arm and a “B” on the other. I would like to see some cyclists try to pull that tattoo style off. Can you imagine a big “A” and “C” on Contador’s chicken wings? I think that would be great.

Career Builder just grossed me out and made me feel bad about my professional choices all at once with their “Follow Your Heart” commercial. Thanks Career Builder/Nausea Inducer. Thanks a lot.

Now we have Naomi Campbell doing the Thriller dance with a bunch of SoBe lizards. Apparently SoBe is sponsoring the halftime show as well. Instead of mountain bike teams.

Completing this unpleasant commercial break is a pharmaceutical “Just Say No” type of ad with the worst drug dealer actor ever. Seriously. This guy was like a combination of every hokey dealer from the old After School specials all rolled up into one hilarious stereotype. But I think the ad was actually targeted toward parents so maybe it was right on point. Even though the parents are probably the ones abusing the pharmaceuticals to begin with.

Apparently Fox is pretty excited about their medi-drama “House.” Not sure what the deal is with that show but they got Mira Sorvino (who hasn’t worked much lately) which is nice. But she’s in Antartica. And a mechanic is going to have to drill into her skull while House watches. I guess. I’ve only seen the commercial 20 times in the last hour.

Brady just got sacked by Kawika Mitchell. I knew a kid named Kawika Chetron back in elementary school in Mill Valley who played goalie on our soccer team. From what I recall, the ONLY thing that these two have in common is their first name. Which is pronounced Kuh-Vee-Kuh by the way. Not too many Kawika’s out there though.

The makers of the GMC Yukon Hybrid are telling me to never say never. But I am going to ignore their wishes and say, unequivocally, that I will NEVER buy a GMC Yukon. Hybrid or not, I am never going to be that guy.

Okay, I have now just witnessed yet another horribly offensive Bud Light ad featuring the low-brow comedic stylings of Carlos Mencia. This commercial is supposed to play on the fact that ladies dig guys with accents. But despite this extremely intellectual premise, somehow the ad becomes a showcase of vaguely negative racial and social stereotypes. Good job Bud Light. You are doing wonders for the assimilation of many people into your glorious world of sports-related inebriation and sexism. Sweet. How did this get aired?

Now a shot of Randy Moss, not looking happy. But then again, when has he ever looked happy? He may have been smiling as he ran over the Minneapolis traffic cop with his car a few years ago but I am not sure. Even though he kind of screwed the Oakland Raiders – which is always good for some Brownie points in my book - this is not my kind of guy. And the fact that he did not pay tribute to Jerry Rice (the Eddy Merckx of receivers) after he broke the TD receptions record this year was ignorant, arrogant and unacceptable. Always give props to Jerry.

Bradshaw just made a nice run and Troy Aikman said that he “shot the gap.” This makes me think of the many uses of the term “gap” in cycling. “Get a gap” “Close the gap” “The gap is widening” “The area in between Bob Roll and Michael Strahan’s front teeth” and many more. For more information, see Chris Horner’s piece in the movie PRO for a great tutorial in the usage of the term “gap.”

Okay, what the hell is with the Dancing Fox football robot? I don’t get what that thing is all about.

Now a Planters ad with a mono-browed chick who distracts a bike messenger with her peanut perfume and makes him crash into a stopped car. This is funny because it’s true. Well, except for the mono-brow part. That is sad but true.

Up next is a T-Mobile (Did they ever have anything to do with cycling? I forget) ad with Charles Barkley and Dwyane Wade. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to write “Dwyane” and it makes me just as angry as I thought it would. Wade seems like a good guy but there is simply no excuse for that spelling. But Charles is the star of the commercial as always.

Random Side Story: A few years ago when I was playing a lot of golf, C-Mac and I managed to attend the John Elway Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Interlocken resort. It was a pretty fun day of wandering around the course and trying to pick out the people playing. It was especially pleasant watching a completely trashed Judd Nelson get booted off the par-3 12th hole after shanking no less than 10 balls in the creek. At about 11:00 in the morning.

But the most memorable part of the day came as we watched the Charles Barkley group play toward us. Despite one of the worst looking swings ever, Barkley had driven the ball right into the center of the fairway and proceeded to drill his approach shot to about 4 feet from the pin.

I guess he was really keeping his head down because he then jumped in his cart and drove straight over to where C-Mac and I were standing and asked where his ball had landed. I laughed at first and then realized he was serious, quickly informing him that it was right next to the hole. C-Mac congratulated him on the shot, then he thanked us and sped away again.

After sizing up his putt for about 2 seconds, Barkley missed the cup by a foot and snapped his putter in half like it was a chopstick.

The funniest part of this whole event was that Barkley was actually driving the cart. Usually in tournaments like this, the organizers have some local kids chauffer the players around. But Barkley wouldn’t let his kid drive, so this poor 13 year old was just sitting there in the passenger seat of the cart, terrified to say anything and just hoping that he wouldn’t upset Sir Charles. It was great.

Actually the funniest (and saddest) part of the tournament was all the haggard old groupies that were roaming the course. I think some of those ladies should have retired when the players did. No Hall of Fame for that particular crew.

Okay, Doritos just got my vote for best commercial of the night so far. This stuffy dude cuts a Dorito with an X-acto knife and sets it into a mouse trap in front of a hole in the wall. After a few seconds a guy in a Mouse costume jumps through the wall and just starts beating on the stuffy dude, taking his bag of Doritos. Oh man. I actually laughed out loud at that one. There is just something about people in animal costumes being violent that hits me right in the funny-bone. SEE: Every fight between high school/college/professional mascots that has ever taken place.

So, I guess Motorola is making the headsets for the coaches. One of my favorite things about the old Motorola cycling team was that they were some of the first to rock the sweet Sub-6 Specialized helmets. I still think those were rad. Not to mention that they saved my melon on a few occasions. Thank you Specialized.

Brady gets sacked, fumbles and the Giants recover. 10 seconds left. This is not looking like the type of game most people had anticipated. Brady is taking some serious shots today. The Giants are all up in his Bundschen right now and if the 2nd half doesn’t open up, we may have ourselves an upset here.

And now for the SoBe Life Water halftime show.

Some guy I don’t know, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmie Johnson are the studio crew for Fox. Ugh. Howie is the only guy that I even remotely care for and Bradshaw makes me cringe. Jimmie Johnson is wearing a pretty sharp tie though. And some sweet old man-style gold jewelry.

Honestly, part of my issue with Terry Bradshaw is not even his own fault. It’s actually because C-Mac occasionally makes me watch Sex and the City from time to time and Sarah Jessica Parker’s character is named Carrie Bradshaw. I find this name similarity absolutely MADDENING.

Are you kidding me? They really couldn’t come up with another name that didn’t sound exactly like one of the most polarizing players and broadcasters in NFL history? This drives me crazy for some reason. And makes me hate that show even more than the normal man. It is outrageous and disturbing that so many women love that show. Crazy.

Now for the halftime concert. I am guessing we are all comfortable that Mr. Petty will not be revealing his breasts tonight, but you never know about those Heartbreakers. I would like to go back to the old days of crazy choreographed numbers with costumes and stuff. Not just some “safe” band that goes through the motions of a few old songs while some random people dance on the field around them.

Anyway, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers put on a good show but I think it would have been more entertaining to watch a bunch of celebrities play Guitar Hero. Nothing against Tom though. I have always liked him a lot. From the old days thru the Traveling Wilbury’s and even some of the more recent stuff. But Guitar Hero is really fun and probably would have been more entertaining than listening to a middle-aged band play songs I originally heard decades ago.

C-Mac’s review of the halftime show: “There sure are lots of sluts in the crowd.” Excellent.

The concert is over and they just ran a truly horrible Sales Genie ad with culturally insensitive cartoon Pandas. I can’t believe that a company sells sales leads. I also can’t believe that I just wrote the term “culturally insensitive cartoon Pandas.” And I was serious.

But really, how poor is your market research and how generic is your product that you can just call some company and get better sales leads than you could generate on your own? And why the Pandas? I really just don’t get this.

The commercial break is saved by Shaq in a horse race, looking like he’s about 4 times the size of the other jockeys. I used to dislike Shaq-Fu but now I think he’s pretty cool. I am actually fascinated by his public persona because no one really knows who Shaq is. He’s like this big character that is always talking but never really saying anything. I think he’s a lot smarter than most people give him credit for.

At this point we switched over to the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Now this is great show. It was all fun and games until one of the little pooches committed a Personal Foul on the field while the terrier called a timeout and flopped over in the corner to take a nap. This is totally better than the Super Bowl.

Editor’s Note: We did end up getting back to the Super Bowl and it was pleasing to watch the underdog take out the overdog(?). For reference, this upset should not have come as a surprise to many cycling fans out there. After all, there may have been some truth to the rumor that the Giants had hired Greg LeMond and Floyd Landis as consultants while the Patriots retained the services of Laurent Fignon. I thought Belichick was smarter than that.

Up next: The Tour of California and a bunch of even worse commercials and celebrity appearances.


CaliRado Cyclist said...

Quick research has shown that Ghostface is in Iron Man. Not bad.

But now I have to go see it.

Anonymous said...

I always like to think of the "you not bike rider, you nothing" quote as a face to face "put down" of someone who thinks he is a cyclist, like after they come in as pack fill at their local race, you say, "you not bike rider - you nothing"

Anonymous said...

nice timing

CaliRado Cyclist said...

I hadn't thought of the Eddie B. quote like that. But I can dig it.

Not sure why my timing was nice on this one. But timing is everything so...thanks?

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining. As you state later in the blog that for the most part you only watched the first half, I did as well. But spending most of the sunday watching the pre-game BS, was enough to encourage me to not want to watch any more football for some time. But, i have to admit having G-ma making comments on the commericals and asking questions regarding team colors so she would know who to root for was entertaing.

Nice work on the blog, bro!


Anonymous said...

Actually, Petty did get flack that the heart and arrow were phallic...seems like even they weren't safe enough for the Bowl. Got to admit though, it's wierd with Petty - he looks so much better now than he did in the 80's...what's up with that!
Favorite ad for me was the screaming squirrel! Bet that cracked G'ma up! Cyclema